Critic’s Picks (December 16 – 22)
Ludwig van Toronto’s weekly Critic’s Picks are a curated list of some of the best concerts happening now through the end of the week. For a look at the full breadth of what’s available in and around Toronto, check out our curated concert listings here.
National Ballet of Canada | The Nutcracker. 7 p.m. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W. Runs to Jan. 4. $45-$185. Start times vary, consult website for details.
The Nutcracker continues this week, with a PR buzz sure to boost ticket sales — it was announced Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry is making his ballet debut as a Cannon Doll on the Dec. 19 evening performance. Many other celebrities take on this role, including the redoubtable Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman. The Tchaikovsky score isn’t too shabby either, with choreography by James Kudelka. | Details
Tafelmusik | Handel: Messiah. 7:30 p.m. Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W. $39-$122. Repeats Dec. 18, 19, 20. Pre-concert chat one hour before curtain with long time Tafelmusik guest artist soprano Ann Monoyios.
Ivars Taurins conducts a quartet of soloists (soprano Margot Rood, mezzo Lucile Richardot, tenor Thomas Hobbs, and baritone Peter Harvey), joining the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir in this most beloved of Tafelmusik’s offerings. | Details
Orpheus Choir of Toronto | ‘Tis Winter Now 7:30 p.m. Grace Church on-the-Hill, 300 Lonsdale Road. $45/$35(sr)/$20 (under 30).
Orpheus Choir of Toronto (Robert Cooper, Artistic Director) presents ‘Tis Winter Now, a memorable evening of joyous carols and tales, both heartfelt and light-hearted, narrated by Stratford and Shaw Festival’s Benedict Campbell. | Details
Music Toronto | Jonathan Plowright, piano. 8 p.m. Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E. $52/$47.50/$10(st)
British pianist Jonathan Plowright plays a program of Brahms: Four Ballades, Op. 10; Schumann: Kinderszenen, Op, 15; Mozart: Variations on “Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman,” K.265; and Paderewski: from “Humoresques de Concert,” Book I. | Details
Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Messiah. 8 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. $50-$154.
Repeats 8 pm on Dec. 18, 20, 21; 3 p.m. on Dec. 22.
Alexander Shelley, Music Director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, leads a quartet of top-class Canadian soloists (soprano Jane Archibald, mezzo Emily D’Angelo, tenor Isaiah Bell, and baritone Russell Braun) and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in Handel’s Messiah. Not to be missed. | Details
Toronto Chamber Choir | Kaffeemusik: Mary, the Rose. 8 p.m. Calvin Presbyterian Church, 26 Delisle Avenue. $12.50-$30.
Toronto Chamber Choir presents an evening of music centered around the Blessed Virgin, in a mix of the old and the (relatively) new, including excerpts from Britten’s Hymn to the Virgin, Ceremony of Carols and Andrew Donaldson’s Mary, the Rose. Julia Seager Scott, harp. | Details
Against the Grain Theatre | Figaro’s Wedding. 8 p.m. Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, 106 Trinity St. $35-$90. Repeats Dec. 19, 20.
Last three performances of AtG’s Figaro’s Wedding. It’s “modernized, translated into English and re-staged as one of Toronto’s millennial weddings…with the audience attending as wedding guests.” | Details
Tafelmusik | Sing-Along Messiah. 2 p.m. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St. $20-$49.50.
Warm up those vocal cords, folks! Tafelmusik’s beloved annual tradition of Sing-Along Messiah is back! Now in its 34th season, the audience members are led by Maestro Handel (also known as Ivars Taurins) in selections from Messiah. It’s the second year this event takes place in Roy Thomson Hall as Massey Hall is being renovated. A must for those believing in the joy of singing. | Details
Amadeus Choir | Mystic Light: Solace in the Darkest Days. 7:30 p.m. Eglinton St. George’s United Church, 35 Lytton Blvd. $45/$40(sr)/$25(st).
On the night of the Winter Solstice, Amadeus Choir presents an evening of music that celebrates the promise of coming light, *works composed or arranged by women — Jocelyn Morlock, Jennifer Higdon, Laura Hawley, Cassie Luftspring, Jenny Trites, Jocelyn Hagen, and Sarah Quartel. | Details
[*Event details last updated Dec 18, 2019]